The Spanish Action League Theater Youth Group
The goal of this Syracuse, NY theater project is to keep youth developing their abilities and interests through the arts, and especially in their native language. Each year, the theater youth group chooses works in Spanish literature that can stimulate learning and engagement for children and encourage them to continue their studies through university or college.
This year, one of the chosen works for the central New York audiences is from a collection of short stories called “The Golden Age” (La Edad de Oro) by José Martí. The story, “The Two Nightingales” (Los Dos Ruiseñores), can easily be incorporated into a mission to help the children learn about urban birds, as well as how to help and protect them. The project will be conducted as part of The Spanish Action League Theater Youth Group program, a youth program at La LIGA (the Spanish Action League of Onondaga County, Inc.), and it will involve workshops where youth, parents, and volunteers can learn not only about literature and theater, but also how to care for the environment and birds in particular. Through performances in open areas like sidewalks or parks, the youth’s learning will become more dynamic and free. They also plan to build birdhouses, plant flowers, and create scenery for the play, probably with the help of art students at the University of Syracuse or other local artists.
In the promotion of the play, the group plans to use local news and radio and its current audience base to support data collection through Celebrate Urban Birds. Data kits will be given out at the end of each performance so that spectators can conduct observations at home with their families, and some bird-friendly plants will also be given away for people to put in their home gardens or windows.
Creative Director José Miguel Hernandez shared his feelings about actors and the arts with us:
“Art is the force that moves the Latino Theater Youth Troupe and the world. It will be integrated in our costumes, make-up, lights, photography, songs, choreography, scenery — in short, it is found in everything we use to interpret characters and roles as a fundamental part of creative and exploratory theater. This is what defines our work with the actors. Our future is in these children and their art, as well as in the hands of the society that will support them in achieving their dreams.”
Update, March 25th:
The Spanish Action League Theater Youth Group has been busy in Syracuse, NY! At La LIGA, they started readings from dramatic pieces to practice lines and select parts for their play, “The Two Nightingales” (Los Dos Ruiseñores) by José Martí. They have also participated in some fun and educational activities offered as part of El Punto Art Studio workshops at La Casita Cultural Center. There, they are learning about acting, set design, makeup, photography, and of course about birds, too! What a magic combination for developing a wonderful play, inspiring their community to learn about urban birds, and studying how to help and protect the birds in their neighborhood. Marvelous!
Photos by Marilu Lopez Fretts, El Punto Art Studio.